Non-Fiction November Week 1: My Year in Non-Fiction

Posted November 2, 2021 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 6 Comments

I saw this over at Reading In Bed, and I thought I would join in; it’s this week’s #NonFicNov prompts which is being hosted by Rennie at What’s Nonfiction. I have been really in the mood for some non-fiction and thought it would be a good excuse to join in this event, and hopefully help motivate me to blog more. The prompt revolves around my year in non-fiction, which I admit has not been too great. My whole reading year has been a struggle, and I have read less than I normally would. Which means, I have not picked up much non-fiction, but what I have read, I’ve really enjoyed. So, I thought I would quickly highlight the non-fiction books I have read.

Sex and Lies by Leïla Slimani (translated by Sophie Lewis)

Leïla Slimani is a Franco-Moroccan author and journalist who while on a book tour decided to interview woman about their experiences with sex. When talking about sex, we often only get a western perspective (or this could be a cultural bias), so it was interesting to read some thoughts from Moroccan women. The books offered insights into the thoughts and expectations of these Arab women, while Slimani collected these stories, she also added some relevant statistics.

The Women’s Doc by Caroline De Costa

If it wasn’t for book club, I might have never read this book. Caroline De Costa is a controversial name here in Australia as a reproductive rights activist, mainly for her vocal support towards Mifepristone (RU486) which at the time was not available here. This book is a memoir of her working life, five decades as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Ireland, Papua New Guinea, and Australia.

Ex Libris, 100+ Books to Read and Reread by Michiko Kakutani

I love books about books, but there is something about the subtitle of this one that really bugged me. In the 100+ books Kakutani mentioned, there was a large amount dedicated to American history and political. I find this to be a problem with Americans in general; not everyone lives in America! There is a world outside of America, and while some knowledge of your country can be useful, not everyone wants to read and reread these books.

Things Are Against Us by Lucy Ellmann

I loved Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks Newburyport, so I was excited to see this essay collection from her and she did not disappoint. This is a collection of 14 essays in which she unleashes her anger and frustration at the world. Ellmann has a great way of blending humour and anger together, and this collection covers topics on feminism, media, politics, labour, and the environment.

The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen (Translated by Tiina Nunnally & Michael Favala Goldman)

This is a collection of three short memoirs, Childhood, Youth and Dependency, covering a large part of Ditlevsen’s life. Stay tuned because there will be an episode of the Lost in Translations podcast on this book.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

This might be my favourite book of the year; it was such an amazing read. This is a memoir of an abusive relationship, but Machado has done an amazing job in the way she wrote this book. Each chapter is written in a different style, using a series of narrative tropes to tell the story. What I really loved about this book is the way it is told in the second person as a way of letting the reader know they aren’t the only person suffering from abuse.

I am not planning on spending the entire month reading non-fiction but I have a few books lined up that I would really like to read, starting with Who Gets to Be Smart by Bri Lee. I am terrible at planning so I cannot reveal anything more, except the fact that Who Gets to Be Smart did mention No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani (translated by Omid Tofighian) which is sitting on my shelves waiting for me, so I might pick that up as well. As for my other project The Invisible Cities, we are focusing on Sierra Leone and Paraguay in November. December is a catch up month (so no new countries) and we will be back next year, starting with Algeria and Singapore.

Hope you have a great reading month, don’t forget to read some non-fiction. November is also Novelllas in November (#NovNov) if you need an excuse to read some shorter books.


6 responses to “Non-Fiction November Week 1: My Year in Non-Fiction

  1. Well it sounds like we’ve had similar reading years! And two of the same favourites. Im glad you’re doing an episode on The Copenhagen Trilogy! I’m similarly not trying to read tons of nonfiction, but the prompts are such that your can participate without that so. Works for me ?

  2. “There is a world outside of America, and while some knowledge of your country can be useful, not everyone wants to read and reread these books.”
    Amen to that.
    I’ve read some fine US authors, but these days I read widely from around the world and really enjoy it.

  3. I’ve been reading less in general this year, so I’m also hoping this event will help me get back into blogging more! I’ve not yet picked up In the Dream House, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Thanks for joining us this year 🙂

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